Welcome to the brand new Broombank Photography website. It seems fitting that the site is launched just before the annual wedding show at the AECC. I hope that brides who visit the site will be encouraged to see more of my work. Last year I focussed on selling my whisky book throughout Europe and the UK so weddings took very much a back seat, but this year I hope to make more of an impact among the small group of clients who want something a bit different. There are so many wedding photographers now that it must be very confusing and perhaps tempting to make judgements on price alone. Did you know that 40 % of brides are discontented with their wedding photography? Isn't that an shocking statistic ! So far ( famous last words) in the seven years I have been shooting weddings I have yet to meet a bride who is anything but delighted with what I have done for her. I think this is because I make a point of involving the couple from the start - getting to know them well enough to have a clear idea what they would like , and involving them in every step of the design of the finished album. Because they design the album with me and have chosen which pictures to use, they know pretty much how their album will look before it goes to the printers. So there are no horrible shocks - just a sense of achievement both for them and for me! Because i limit myself to 10 or less weddings per year I approach each one as a fresh challenge.
On the Whisky front I am excited by a new venture. I am going to start a small publishing house myself, aiming to produce small but high quality photobooks for individual distilleries . Ardmore at Kennethmont has agreed to fund the first one and we will hopefully put this in motion later this month . I want to produce a compact high quality gift at a very reasonable price . My ambition is to have a whole series of these on different distilleries.
So please leave your comments and suggestions which will be gratefully received.
31st March 2011
A lot of progress on the whisky book. All the photography is finished and is looking good . It is due to be sent for printing in Mid May and should be available from Ardmore distillery shop by late august /early September( www.ardmorewhisky.com) . I am hoping that it will be sufficiently impressive to persuade some other distilleries to sign up . The investment is small and the benefits potentially large in terms of publicity. The book will be 245mm by 170mm with 64 high quality pages spot vanished on matt art paper . It will cost £10 retail At least half the pictures are of distillery workers in action . I had a fascinating day in the Glasgow business school archives looking at the records from Allied distilleries . I found all the original architectural plans by the famous Charles Doig of Elgin who designed so many distilleries . We held a session for 9 retired employees to reminisce on their working lives and I have 'distilled' this into a social history of the distillery which forms the introduction to the book.
10th September 2011
A long overdue update . The Ardmore book is finished, printed and en route from China to Kennethmont . It has reached UK shores but is awaiting customs clearance. Everybody seems delighted with it. It will retail at £10 through the distillery website and through me. I am at present searching for the next candidate. I have several interested but it remains to be seen whether they will sign up.
My next project is to be called 'Transylvanian Odyssey' It will document and illustrate my travels in Transylvania which began in 1969 on a Honda 50 . I took lots of slides with my Zenith E on Ferrania film and developed them myself. At least that means they were well washed so the colour is still excellent. The trail will lead to the present day whre I have just completed my third visit and I now have the bit between my teeth to properly photograph the process of Horinca ( Tuica/Plum brandy) production in Maramures. Each litle village has its own distillery and they distill rotten fruit - either plums - pears or apples . The resulting disillate is then distilled again to produce a spirit with around 50% alcohol . The pear brandy has more than a little similarity to French 'Poire William' These distilleries are rather like what I imagine Whisky production was like before 1870 . They are tiny - some are almost of home brew scale . I think that despite the isloation of Maramures it is unlikely that they will survive for long once they get in the sights of Brussels bureaucrats. The other problem is the value of copper which is leading to an epidemic of still theft . I saw two ransacked places on my recent trip. The Gypsies have been the traditional metal workers,who made the stills, but they are now hard to find as the skilled craftsmen have all gone to italy !! Trnsylvanian hospitality is as it ever was - quite amazing.
'Bottled History' is still selling slowly and continues to be a source of satisfaction to me. It is amazing how little negative comment it has attracted. I have cut the price to £20 to boost sales in a recession.
16 january 2013
its funny when you start these blogs you are full of good intentions ......... !!
however ..... an update
still waiting for further customers for the little book ( Ardmore type) . Five people are interested but won't as yet commit to dates . I would love to do a series .......
On the Transylvanian front I now have an enormous collection of pictures after 5 visits ( shortly to be 6). These pictures attract very favourable comment from people whose judgement I respect so I am going to launch an e book as a ipad 'app' - the point of which will be to attact funding for a paper copy. I feel optimistic that this will eventually happen but there are many bridges to cross first. Eddie Ephraums has offerted trememdous support and is keen to put it on his web publishing site which is nearly ready for launch. One of my concerns is to make a paper copy affordable to the inhabitnts of Maramures. There are too many books there which are beautifully produced but cost a weeks salary .
My February visit will be an attempt to see the villages with a snow covering but this is in the lap of the gods. I am NEVER disappointed in fact I cannot imagine never going there again. It has got well and truly under my skin.
'Ardmore' has sold well in the local area and we are using it as a launch pad for workshops on photographing distilleries in the next Speyside festival in May . I will do these jointly with Alistair Longwell the manager and the propsal has been enthusiastically received by the feswtival organisers.
Bottled History continues to sell slowly but steadily . My attempts to find corporate buyers who will use it as a gift have not borne fruit despite numerous false starts. neither have a found a way to market it in the US which is a great source of regret. The size and weight of the book are always a deterrent.
On the wedding front all is very quiet - too many of us in Aberdeen - we need to be culled !! The big show is this weekend so here's hoping !
18 May 2013 Oh why is it still so cold !!! What happened to spring ? Even now it still feels like early April. Have just held the first distillery photography workshop as part of the Speyside festival. It was a delight. I did it with Alistair Longwell, manager of Ardmore. We had 5 participants on the first day and six on the second. All were very enthusiastic and took some great shots which you can see at www.distilleryphotography.com Hopefully this will become an annual event. As for me I am helping to produce a new book for Angel's Share publisher ( Neil Wilson) called 'The craft and skills of Whisky'. I was asked to do the photography and Brian Townsend author of 'Scotch Missed' is doing the text. I have ended up photographing Forsyths coppersmiths in Rothes, Speyside Cooperage, Paul's Maltings at Montrose and the reconstruction of Annandale distillery near Dumfries which has been out of use for 90 years and is being brought back from the dead by the dedication of David Thompson. To see new stills being installed in such an old building was a real privilege. Shortly the washbacks will be finished and it is intended to start production by the end of the year- but like most things it is subject to interminable delays. Some weddings to do in mid summer ( ha ha ) but quiet on that front. I suppose I don't mind as I only want to do weddings feeling enthusiastic and fresh.